Hepner Hall at San Diego State University
Iconic Hepner Hall at San Diego State University. Photo by Chris Jennewein

San Diego State University students are graduating at record high rates, and the university now ranks first nationally in a new measure of “graduation rate performance,” according U.S. News & World Report.

University President Adela de la Torre said the top ranking on this statistic acknowledges the university’s success in serving students of many different economic, racial, ethnic and gender affiliations.

“These numbers underscore the university’s unwavering commitment to our students over many decades,” said de la Torre. “SDSU is a model for what dedicated public universities can do—that is, create inclusive academic environments that marry student success with access, diversity with innovation, and leadership with transformational change.”

U.S. News calculated graduation rate performance by comparing a university’s actual six-year graduation rate to the rate its analysts would expect, given each university’s unique combination of financial resources, admissions data, proportion of economically disadvantaged students and STEM orientation.

The algorithm was updated this year to include social mobility, thereby giving an advantage to universities that have narrowed the achievement gap—the difference between educational outcomes for low-income and minority students compared to their white peers and students from more privileged socioeconomic backgrounds.

The current six-year graduation rate in the United States is 57 percent, which means that 57 percent of first-time freshmen attending four-year colleges and universities graduate in six years. SDSU’s six-year graduation rate 75.3 percent.

A comprehensive analysis of 2003-2013 data by the Education Trust found that SDSU was one of only 26 universities in the nation to have increased six-year graduation rates for all students while also closing the gap between six-year graduation rates for underrepresented students and white students.

U.S. News ranked SDSU as the 60th best public university in the united states, up from 68th last year.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.